Continuing a historic run, Washington State tennis player Michaela Bayerlova defeated North Carolina’s Carson Tanguilig, 5-7, 7-6(3), 7-5, to advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tennis Singles Championship, where she’ll face VCU’s Paulo Exposito Diaz-Delgado today at 10 a.m. PT for the right to advance to the semis.
If you want to follow along, you can watch the matchup here.
No WSU tennis player has ever made it this far, and it would seem that Bayerlova has an excellent chance to keep it rolling: Diaz-Delgado was ranked No. 96 nationally entering the tournament. That said, Diaz-Delgado didn’t drop her first set until yesterday, and she more or less cruised through the final two sets from there.
Bayerlova, meanwhile, had her hands full against Tanguilig. She often found herself playing from behind but coming back again and again to dispatch the Tar Heel.
“Another strong mental performance from Misa today,” WSU head coach Raquel Atawo said via news release. “She had some doubts early on but she found a way out of it and ended playing a solid third set. Today was a tough battle against a very good player and Misa stepped up when she had to. She was playing from behind a lot today but her competitive drive always brought her back. Super proud of her effort.”
Broken serve was more or less the theme of the day, likely due in large measure to the exceptionally windy conditions on the campus of Illinois. Tanguilig broke Bayerlova’s serve three times to power to a win in the first set — Bayerlova’s first dropped set of the tournament.
The second set was where Bayerlova’s mental toughness started to show against the freshman. Down 5-6 and facing elimination, the fifth-year senior saved two match points to force a tiebreaker against the freshman. In that tiebreak, Bayerlova hit a trio of winners while Tanguilig hit a quartet of errors, forcing the third set.
The third and deciding set was befitting a match where the loser goes home. Bayerlova used three breaks to take a 5-3 lead, appearing to be rolling and needing only to hold serve to advance. But Tanguilig broke back quickly before holding her own serve to tie the match at 5-5. But, again, Bayerlova steadied herself to hold serve and take a 6-5 lead before building an advantage against Tanguilig’s serve that would give her two match points — the second of which paid off to seal the victory.
Bayerlova is now 20-2 on the season and 9-1 against-nationally-ranked opponents. She is on a six-match win streak — all against-ranked opponents — and now has 93 career singles victories, sixth all-time at WSU.
Tyrell Roberts finds a new home
Thanks for the season, Ty. I hope you kill it in San Francisco and that our teams face each other in the NCAA tournament!
And yes, we’re still waiting on final decisions from Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye, both of whom have until June 1 to either enter the draft or transfer to a new school (if they want to be immediately eligible next season).
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